32 Of The Best Songs About Heaven

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Nirvana, promised land, afterworld, paradise… Humans of all cultures and faiths have attempted to define heaven. Many people think of it as the final resting place. It’s somewhere where all their worries will be forgotten and they will finally find the happiness they’ve been searching for.

As such, heaven stands for two things. It could be that place where we go after life. Or it could be a metaphor for that euphoric feeling when we’re with the people we love.

Songwriters have these in mind when they penned their masterpieces. Here, we have 32 of the best songs about heaven that perfectly encapsulate the many feelings linked with the afterlife. Read on to find out more.

Table of Contents

1. “I Can Only Imagine” By MercyMe

To open our list, we have “I Can Only Imagine,” a song by the Christian band MercyMe. This song was released in 1991 and 2001 as part of their albums The Worship Project and Almost There, respectively. It became a massive hit, reaching the top of the charts and winning numerous awards.

The song talks about what standing before God in heaven will be like. The lyrics express awe and wonder at finally seeing God face to face and being reunited with loved ones who have passed away.

Lead vocalist Bart Millard has said that the song came to him through his grief over his father’s death. He wrote it to express his hope and faith in the face of loss.

2. “Heaven” By Bryan Adams

When talking about songs that mention “heaven” in the title, we can’t miss this one by Bryan Adams. “Heaven” was released in 1985 from his album Reckless.

In its simplicity, “Heaven” is an ode to a loved one. Here, the singer tells us how much he appreciates his lover coming into his life. We can tell they’ve been through many ups and downs, and they still remain together.

In the song, heaven is a metaphor for the happiness he feels with her in his life. Her love is what he needs. It’s surreal that sometimes, he still can’t believe that he’s experiencing the kind of happiness he’s been looking for.

3. “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” By Bob Dylan

Up next is a song that talks about death. Bob Dylan penned “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” for the 1973 movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

The song plays while Sheriff Colin Baker dies from his gunshot wounds. The song goes, “Mama, take this badge off of me, I can’t use it anymore.”

But perhaps the most notable lines are the ones that go, “It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see” and “That long black cloud is comin’ down.” Both of these refer to death coming. “Knockin’ on heaven’s door is a reference to the singer standing on the threshold of heaven.

4. “Stairway To Heaven” By Led Zeppelin

Our next song with “heaven” in the lyrics is Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven.” This 1971 single was penned by the band’s lead singer, Robert Plant, for their fourth album.

From the song, we can see how Plant relied on metaphor to get his message across. The song starts with a woman who represents a materialistic society. She spends here and there “buying a stairway to heaven.” What she doesn’t know is she can’t take any of it when she dies.

The song continues, finally showing us that it’s about a person’s journey in life. It suggests that we must prioritize our spiritual grounding while alive than hoping to be saved upon death.

5. “Angels Among Us” By Alabama

While heaven does not appear anywhere else in the song, “Angels Among Us” deserves a spot on our list. This song by the American country band Alabama is an ode to people who are like an angel to us.

The song’s lyrics talk about the presence of “angels” in our lives or people who appear to help us through tough times. The singer tells us that they are “sent down…from somewhere up above,” or heaven.

It doesn’t matter whether these people are loved ones or strangers. They appear when we need them the most to guide us and show us how to live.

6. “Heaven’s Not Too Far Away” By We Three

The American indie-pop trio We Three gave us a touching and emotional song in “Heaven’s Not Too Far Away.” This is from their 2018 We Three album.

Speaking from the group’s experiences with loss and grief, the song’s lyrics talk about the pain of leaving loved ones behind. The speaker of the song is a mother with cancer whose days are numbered.

What’s painful for the singer is leaving her children behind. She doesn’t want to go, but she has to because “it’s time I go home.” And home is not far away. She can be in heaven any minute, but she also knows that someday, she will see them again.

7. “Heaven Bound (I’m Ready)” By The Oak Ridge Boys

Another gospel song on our list is “Heaven Bound (I’m Ready)” by American country and gospel group The Oak Ridge Boys.

At the start of the song, you’ll think it’s about someone excited to be signing off work. He says it’s the same every day, being tired, body and mind. By five o’clock, when work is usually done, he feels like “an angel’s a-callin’ me.”

In the chorus, he sings he’s ready, and heaven bound. From here, it’s clear that it’s about the joy and anticipation of going to heaven. After toiling away, he’s ready to get his reward, and that is God’s love.

8. “When I Get Where I’m Going” By Brad Paisley Ft. Dolly Parton

Up next is a touching and sentimental song by Brad Paisley featuring the legendary Dolly Parton. “When I Get Where I’m Going” was released in 2005 as part of his album Time Well Wasted.

In the song, the singer details all the things he wants to do when he gets to heaven. Where he is going, he claims there are no sad tears. His sins will be washed away so that only love will remain in his heart.

The singer also mentions reuniting with his grandfather and taking a walk with him. We can tell how much he misses the old man, whom he plans on embracing upon seeing him again.

9. “Heaven Is A Halfpipe (If I Die)” By OPM

Our next song on the list is one of those that will never get old. “Heaven is a Halfpipe (If I Die)” by OPM became a skater anthem in the UK, and no surprise there. The halfpipe in the title refers to the U-shaped skateboard ramp.

The lyrics are a little humorous, focusing on a person who loves nothing more than skateboarding and having fun. He imagines heaven as a sanctuary where he can skate without being bothered by authority. In his mind, heaven would offer the complete freedom to experience the things that brought him joy. 

While some people imagine heaven with those pearly gates, he sees a sign up there that says “Do not skate.” And so he proposes his own heaven to have no walls and everybody can chill.

10. “Dancing In The Sky” By Dani And Lizzy

When we talk about heaven, one thing that would come to our minds is death. In “Dancing in the Sky,” Dani and Lizzy sing about their sorrow for losing someone dear to them.

Its heartfelt lyrics wonder what heaven is like for those no longer with us. The singer asks a series of moving questions. “Have your fears and your pain gone away?” “Is there music?” “What do you do up in heaven?”

Meanwhile, she is sad that she lost someone and feels the emptiness without them. But she expresses hope her loved ones now dance and sing with the angels in the sky.

11. “I’ll Fly Away” By Alison Krauss And Gillian Welch

Our next song on the list is “I’ll Fly Away.” This is a beloved gospel hymn covered by countless artists over the years, including the iconic version by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch.

The lyrics of the song express the hope and promise of eternal life in heaven when our time on Earth is done. It’s about the joy and freedom that comes with being released from the trials and sorrows of this world.

The singer longs to “fly away,” with heaven being referenced as “that home on God’s celestial shore.”

12. “Heaven Was A Place On Earth” By Belinda Carlisle

In 1987, Belinda Carlisle‘s “Heaven Was a Place on Earth” became a hit worldwide. In fact, it became Carlisle’s signature song.

In the lyrics, the singer defines heaven as a place where love reigns. She decides to “make Heaven a place on earth.” But in summary, the song is an ode to the man she loves.

She shares why it feels like heaven is on earth. When she’s alone, he takes her home. When she feels lost, his voice guides her. She used to be afraid, but not now that he is with her.

13. “One Sweet Day” By Mariah Carey And Boyz II Men

Coming up next is a touching ballad by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. “One Sweet Day” is a tribute to those who passed away, including Carey’s friend and collaborator David Cole.

As the song shows, sometimes it’s too late to realize that we’ve taken someone for granted. That’s what the singer goes through in “One Sweet Day.” Worse, that someone is already dead and won’t know how remorseful we feel.

The singer can only go back to the past and realize their misgivings. However, they are confident in knowing that someday, they’ll see their loved ones in heaven again.

14. “Rock And Roll Heaven” By The Righteous Brothers

The musical duo, The Righteous Brothers, had us thinking if there is a “Rock and Roll Heaven.” This single, from the album, Give It to the People, became a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974.

The singer plays with the idea of a rock and roll in heaven. He says that if it’s true, then “they’ve got a hell of a band.” In a way, this song celebrates the music and legacy of several iconic singers and bands. For instance, the line “Jimi gave us rainbows” refers to Jimi Hendrix and his Rainbow Bridge album.

It also mentions Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay.” All of these personalities are dead already, with the singer saying they’ve found a place to play.

15. “Tears In Heaven” By Eric Clapton

Another song that mentions “heaven” in a melancholy way is “Tears in Heaven.” This is a heart-wrenching ballad by Eric Clapton as it was written in memory of his son Conor, who died when he fell to his death.

We can tell from the words, and Clapton’s voice, the pain of losing someone. The song begins with the iconic line, “Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven.” The singer resolves that despite the loss, he must be strong.

It’s not an easy feat, however. The music expresses his deep grief and difficulty in coming to terms with such a loss.

16. “Heaven” By Kane Brown

Country singer Kane Brown makes an appearance on our list with his song “Heaven.” This romantic ballad was released in 2017 from his debut album, Kane Brown.

In the song, the singer recounts how people told him that heaven is a beautiful place. But for him, there is nothing more beautiful than being beside his lover. In fact, he can’t wrap his mind around the idea of something else more beautiful than being with her.

In short, the song talks about the joy and happiness of being in love and believing it’s a taste of heaven. It expresses the feeling of being complete and fulfilled with that special someone.

17. “If Heaven” By Andy Griggs

Another country singer to make it to our list for his “If Heaven” song is Andy Griggs. This sentimental ballad from his album This I Gotta See, compares heaven to things he had known.

The singer makes a point of comparison between heaven and good memories. He remembers suppers and “mammas laughing” after a work day. If heaven is a place, he believes it’s his town, back in 1985, when everyone he loves was still alive.

At the end of the song, the singer provides consolation to a loved one. He recognizes that all of us are going to die someday. He’s not afraid of death but instead looks forward to the kind of heaven he experienced on earth.

18. “Streets Of Heaven” By Sherrie Austin

Get some tissues ready as you listen to “Streets of Heaven,” a poignant country ballad by Sherrie Austin. The song is in a letter form to God, from a mother whose child is on the brink of death.

From the lyrics, we discover that the mother is in the hospital, where her child “fights for her life.” Her heart must be breaking as she begs God not to take her child yet. She reasons that there must be too many people in heaven and that the streets are crowded. Surely He won’t need her child there?

She continues to state her point, reminding God of the wishes her child made on her last birthday. Besides, God has plenty of angels already, and she only has her child. But at the end of the song, the mother renegotiates, telling God to hold her daughter’s hand when crossing the streets of heaven.

19. “Heaven’s Jubilee” By The Gaither Vocal Band

The southern gospel vocal group, the Gaither Vocal Band, presents us with “Heaven’s Jubilee.” This is a gospel song released in 1998 as part of their album Atlanta Homecoming (Live).

If you’re familiar with rapture, or the second coming of Christ, then that is what the song is about. “Saints shall rise” and partake in “that jubilee, yonder in the skies,” which means heaven.

The song also talks about what awaits believers when Jesus comes back. Believers shall rise and meet Him in the skies. There will be rejoicing, celebration, singing, and shouting.

20. “Threaten Me With Heaven” By Vince Gill

The ballad “Threaten Me With Heaven” features a soft melody and thought-provoking lyrics that explore the concept of heaven. This song by country singer Vince Gill was featured in his album Guitar Slinger.

The first two verses of the song make it clear that the singer is on his deathbed, and his lover is washed with fear that soon he would be gone. He comforts her by reminding her that no one or nothing can take away his love.

Despite being on the brink of death, the singer remains resolute. He believes that the only thing others can do is “threaten me with Heaven.” In this case, heaven is a metaphor for death. But he’s not afraid, resolved to wait on her in heaven.

21. “Heaven Song” By Phil Wickham

In our next song, singer-songwriter Phil Wickham talks about the anticipation of waiting for God coming for him. “Heaven Song” is an uplifting and joyful Christian worship song from the album Heaven & Earth.

The fact that God is coming for him makes the singer euphoric. So euphoric that he wants to “run on greener pastures” and “dance on higher hills.” He can’t wait to be at the “place where I belong,” where he will join the angels.

He imagines what it would be like when that time comes. He believes that God would give him permission to enter heaven. And once he’s with the angels, he would sing the heaven song.

22. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” By Etta James

With a rich history behind the song, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is no wonder one of the “Songs of the Century,” as deemed by the Recording Industry Association of America. This classic African American spiritual song has been performed by many artists, including Etta James.

The song features a soulful melody and powerful lyrics that express hope and longing for deliverance. In the lyrics, the singer is beseeching for the chariot to swing low and carry her home.

Home, of course, refers to heaven. And despite going through ups and downs, there is comfort in knowing that she is heaven bound.

23. “Beyond The Sunset” By Hank Williams Sr.

In the song, the thing that is “Beyond the Sunset” is heaven. This is a classic country gospel song by the legendary Hank Williams Sr.

In the lyrics, we find the singer addressing his lover for when the day comes when she goes first. He assures her that he’ll go back to the memory of their happy days together. When things get tough, he promises to remember her voice and her helping hand to give him hope.

And should she go first, he’ll continue living his life, knowing that soon they’ll be reunited. “In that fair homeland,” which refers to heaven, they’ll be together again.

24. “If You Came Back From Heaven” By Lorrie Morgan

Losing someone is heartbreaking. It’s an experience that is hard to move past from. But what about “If You Came Back from Heaven”? This is a question that Lorrie Morgan addresses in the song.

Here, the singer is unsure about what to do should her lover come back. What she knows is she wouldn’t know what to say or do. Would she laugh? Cry? Remain speechless?

It makes her wonder whether things will be back to the way things were before he left. What she’s sure of, though, is that she won’t send him back to heaven. And if God takes him from her for the second time, she wishes that He’ll take her as well so that she and her lover will be together.

25. “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder” By Johnny Cash

Our next song is a very popular Christian hymn with more than 500 versions throughout the years. Johnny Cash recorded his own version of “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” in 1975 as part of his Johnny Cash Sings Precious Memories album.

The song was based on songwriter James Milton Black’s experience in his Bible school. He found out one child was absent during the roll call. He was haunted by the idea of being absent “up yonder.”

In the song, the singer tells us what happens when the Lord comes back. A trumpet will announce His return, and the believers who died will be reunited with Him. And when attendance is called, the singer says, “I’ll be there.”

26. “Heaven” By Los Lonely Boys

The American rock band Los Lonely Boys gave us “Heaven,” a feel-good and soulful rock song. It was released in 2004 as part of their debut album Los Lonely Boys.

Despite the bouncy melody, the lyrics are the opposite. We find a person who is tired of the world. He feels like his life is a prison, and he’s “locked up way too long in this crazy world.” He feels down, lost, and weary. He wants to know, “how far is heaven?”

Despite the sadness and misery, he keeps praying, living, and having faith. He recognizes that there’s a place somewhere better than the world he lives in.

27. “The Great Gig In The Sky” By Pink Floyd

With not much in the lyrics, “The Great Gig in the Sky” is hauntingly beautiful. The British progressive rock band Pink Floyd released it in 1973 from their iconic album The Dark Side of the Moon.

The song does not have lyrics but just a verse at the beginning. Then we hear Clare Torry’s wailing throughout the song, in some parts soft, in others screaming.

In the verse, the narrator tells us he’s not afraid of dying because there’s no reason to be. In that case, he’s ready to die at any time. He recognizes that death is part of living. Notably, there’s no mention of heaven anywhere, just an indirect reference in the title.

28. “Letter To Heaven” By Dolly Parton

Get ready to cry as you listen to Dolly Parton‘s emotional song, “Letter to Heaven.” This song was featured in her album Hits Made Famous By Country Queens.

In a story form, the song talks about an old man writing a letter. His granddaughter comes to him and requests to have a letter sent to her mommy. We find out the mother has passed away, and the girl has missed her ever since. She says she prays to God that He will take her to heaven to live with her mommy.

The old man seals the letter and gives it to her to put in the mail. In excitement, the girl crosses the street without looking both ways. The line “Her prayers had been answered at last” tells us she dies and goes to be with her mother.

29. “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” By Justin Moore

We’ve got another poignant and sentimental song on our list, this time from country singer Justin Moore. “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” is an ode to people who have already passed away.

The song begins with the singer recalling the times when his grandfather was still alive. He misses him, saying he’d take his kids to see their grandpa if heaven was just around. He also goes to visit his dead cousin John, who didn’t live long enough to see his daughter become a doctor.

The singer then mentions other people who have died. Three girls from his class of ’99, his dog, the singer-songwriter Hank Williams, and Janis Joplin. He wants to see them smile, but heaven happens to be “so far away.”

30. “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven” By Kenny Chesney

In “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven,” the singer isn’t ready to go yet. American country singer Kenny Chesney gives us this catchy and upbeat song from his album Lucky Old Sun.

In the song, we discover that our singer is living a happy-go-lucky life. He obviously goes to church but also fills his time with women, partying, and drinking. He tells his preacher that, yes, he wants the Lord to call his name when he gets to heaven.

But certainly not now because he plans to enjoy his life some more. He argues that people want to go to heaven, yet “nobody wants to go now.”

31. “Cheek To Cheek” By Louis Armstrong And Ella Fitzgerald

Being in the arms of a loved one feels like heaven. And that’s what “Cheek to Cheek” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald is all about. Their collaboration has transformed this song into a timeless classic.

Their blend of vocals brought life to lyrics that speak of the deep joy of being close to the person you love. The happiness renders him speechless and he feels like he is in heaven when cheek to cheek with her.

Many can relate to what the song tells us. We may face a lot of problems throughout the week. But once we’re in the presence of our loved one, all these disappear.

32. “Wrong Side Of Heaven” By Five Finger Death Punch

To end our list, we give you “Wrong Side of Heaven.” This powerful and intense song by the American heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch was released in 2013 for their album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1.

One way to look at the song is from the perspective of a soldier, as this is the theme we find in the music video. The song talks about the struggles of soldiers and the challenges of returning to society after serving in combat.

The hard-hitting and aggressive sound captures the pain and despair of their struggles. The line “wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell” seems to tell us that he knows that killing is wrong. However, he is doing it to protect his loved ones and country.

Summing Up Our List Of Heaven Songs

Our list of songs above showed you the soaring harmonies of gospel music, the raw honesty of country ballads, and the introspective musings of pop and rock.

In addition, they reflect some of the deepest and most universal human quests and longings. We’re talking about the search for life’s meaning, the fear of death, and the desire for eternal love.

Whether you believe in heaven or not, we hope that these songs comforted and uplifted you. Listening to them can bring you solace and hope amidst life’s trials and uncertainties.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.